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Business Pulse - Looks like no go at old Bo
Gateway - Katrina - main.jpg
Gateway Tire & Service Center, with 54 locations across six states, has chosen Katrina Bouldin Wood to replace her father, Lynn Bouldin, as general manager of Gateway Tire McMinnville.

On this long and winding road that takes us through business peaks and valleys, it looks like finding a tenant for the old Bojangles building has hit a rut.

As I reported several months ago, there was interest in the building by an old-fashioned burger chain with over 100 stores. However, that interest has pulled a disappearing act due to a difference in price.

From whispers I’ve been hearing, a deal hasn’t been reached for one simple reason. The asking price for the old Bojangles building is high and officials from this growing burger chain aren’t willing to pay that much.

The two sides aren’t in the same ballpark, or in this case the same state, when it comes to price. So I’m going to speculate a deal is not going to be reached unless one side starts to sing a different tune.

I was worried this might happen because it’s clear someone is on the losing end of McMinnville’s failed Bojangles experiment. Expecting to compensate for that loss by asking a high price for the building is only going to result in it sitting vacant for years.

I realize some people are keeping track of this at home, but for those who aren’t it has been nearly one year to the day since Bojangles closed in early September of 2018. 

Since sports gambling is now legal in Tennessee, Business Pulse has set the over-under betting line at two years for finding a new tenant for the Bojangles building.

Wood named new

Gateway GM

Lynn Bouldin served as general manager of Gateway Tire in McMinnville for 28 years until his death in July. Before his passing, Lynn requested his daughter, Katrina Bouldin Wood, be chosen as his replacement once he could no longer manage the business.

On Thursday it was announced that Lynn’s wish had been granted

“Out of my respect for Lynn and my confidence in Katrina, I will proudly honor his wishes,” said Gateway Tire representative Carl Bullard.

Gateway has grown into one of the premier providers of automotive services in the region with 54 locations in six states. Katrina takes over a business where she’s worked for the past 30 years, dating back to the days when it was Gant and Bouldin Tire Company before merging with Gateway in 1992.

“I was working at Jennings Jewelers at the mall and had been in management for 10 years when dad talked me into joining him in his business,” said Katrina. “Dad loved his customers and this was a big part of his life. He always said his business would only be as good as his employees and he was absolutely right.”

Accepting the job long held by her father has been an emotion-filled transition for Katrina.

“This is truly an honor but I realize I have big shoes to fill,” said Katrina. “I had so much respect for him as my dad and also respect for him as my boss. It was a wonderful relationship.”

Katrina assumes leadership of a business which has a faithful customer base. She attributes that to the talent and longevity of Gateway’s employees, with some workers having more than 20 years of experience.

“People like to come in and see the same faces,” said Katrina. 

Gateway Tire is located at 2365 Smithville Highway and can be reached at 815-9000.

Kloset Kase opens

In Rock Island

When Robb Rutledge and Scott Williams opened Rock Island Marketplace in April, it was the beginning of a grand vision for the 50,000-square-foot old Levi’s factory.

The dream revolved around transforming what was a lifeless building into a bustling community center to serve residents in the Rock Island area. On Friday, more of the vision became reality when a used clothing center called Kloset Kase opened inside Rock Island Marketplace.

“We’re doing this as a benefit to the community to give people a place to get quality clothes at very affordable prices,” said Robb. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a name brand or not. All our jeans and all our shirts are the same prices. I’m hoping stuff flies off the racks.”

Robb says no clothing item in the store is priced higher than $5. He said shirts and pants are $2, dresses are $4, and jackets are $5. He noted the clothing is inspected to ensure it’s top-flight merchandise. Items identified as having stains or other defects are donated to other stores which may offer a lower level of quality, Robb said.

With nine children of his own, Robb knows the expense associated with clothing a family. That’s part of his drive behind opening Kloset Kase. He also said a 50 percent discount is provided to children in state custody, which means they could likely assemble an entire wardrobe at Kloset Kase for around $15.

Another addition to the Marketplace in the near future is a food bank which will be open to the residents of the Rock Island area. Robb points out McMinnville is a town that’s known to help people in need and he wants to spearhead efforts to help Rock Island establish that same reputation.

He is working with Ronnie Perry to bring food distributions to the Marketplace. Ronnie has long worked to feed those in need at his business, Sparta Street Muffler.

“We will be getting food shipments periodically,” said Robb. “It should probably be about a month before we get the food bank going.”

But wait … there’s more. In an effort to lend a philanthropic hand to anyone in need, Scott and Robb have been collecting furniture to distribute to people who suffer house fires. The furniture can be picked up free of charge.

Just when you think Scott and Robb couldn’t get any nicer, they’re looking to play Santa Claus too.

“We’re going to have to toy room at Christmas to make sure every child will have a toy,” said Robb.

I realize many annual awards are reserved for December as the year comes to a close, but I want to make an early nomination for Robb and Scott as Humanitarians of the Year. They are bringing new luster to the old Levi’s plant by creating a center that truly serves the needs of the community. Thumbs-up emoji.

Rock Island Marketplace and Kloset Kase are open Wednesday thru Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The address is 11287 Sparta Highway.

New company

Is on the move

Lane Steakley makes a wise observation when describing the need for his new business.

“No one likes to move,” said Lane. “It’s hard work.”

That’s where The Valley Moving Company enters the picture. Lane has formed the business with partner Daniel Woodard as they both have several years of experience in the moving industry.

“Being in the business, I’ve learned what people need when they make a move,” said Lane. “We’re good, we’re clean and we’re professional, but the biggest thing is we want to make a move as affordable as possible.”

Lane has worked locally and in Murfreesboro for moving companies and the expertise he gained is the reason he started Valley Moving Company.

“After a while, you realize you know the business so well you can do it for yourself,” said Lane. “We’re two young guys and we’re eager to get to work.”

The business serves residential and commercial customers in Warren and surrounding counties. Out-of-state moves are also accommodated.

The cost largely depends on the size of the job. Lane said items from a small, one-bedroom house could be moved in as little as a couple hours, while some spacious homes packed with stuff might take more than one day.

Lane says he understands the importance of being careful not to damage any personal items, or the home or business, during the move. “We don’t want to leave a scratch,” he said.

To call for an estimate, The Valley Moving Company can be reached at (931) 409-6811.

Mobile boutique

Grabs attention

When it comes to food service, the trend has clearly shifted to food trucks as that appears to be a more popular option than opening a restaurant without wheels.

The trend appears to be spreading to other retail ventures as Natalie and Clay Parker have opened 21 Rays, a mobile boutique. The rolling shop made its debut last weekend at Viola Valley Homecoming and it was parked next to Depot Bottom Brewery on Main Street on Friday night.

“When I first started thinking about this, I was looking at locating in an older home,” said Natalie. “But the price of the homes and the amount of fix-up work required made that not so much of an option.”

Natalie said she then considered renting space at a shopping center or in the downtown area, but couldn’t really find a spot that seemed like the right fit.

“That’s when I thought, ‘What if I went mobile like a food truck?’” said Natalie. “I thought it would be my best option and I love to travel.”

A senior at Tennessee Tech who is full of ambition, Natalie found the RV she wanted to use in Tullahoma and she has it packed full of clothing and jewelry.

“It’s nice clothing, but I want it to be affordable,” said Natalie. “I also want to start consignment because when I buy something I’ll wear it two or three times and then I’m ready for something else. This will help people get some money out of their clothes if they sell them on consignment.”

Natalie says she plans to develop permanent hours at places where customers know where to find her. So far she has secured spots in the parking lots of Depot Bottom Brewery and Tree City Wine & Spirits on Sparta Street.

In addition to clothing, she has a spot for local artists to sell wire wraps, ceramics and jewelry.

For more information about 21 Rays, Natalie can be reached at (615) 684-5696.

That’s all folks

I have received some business tips I hope to track down for next week. Keep the information flowing by email at